In 2021, the Metropolitan District of Quito, Ecuador was selected as a grantee of the Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees (GCF), the MMC’s instrument to channel international funding directly to cities to implement inclusive projects of their own design.
With support from the GCF, Quito established its first-ever human mobility plan, setting a city-wide policy to protect and provide for Quito’s migrants and refugees until 2026. To ensure uptake of this new policy, the city trained 200 of its public officials on how to implement the policy on a daily basis, while piloting legal, psycho-social, shelter, and economic support activities that reached over 600 migrants and refugees.
According to the Ecuadoran Ministry of Government, there are over 400,000 Venezuelans in Ecuador, joining over 70 other nationalities of migrants and refugees within Ecuador. Most of these migrants and displaced people reside in the cities of Guayaquil, Cuenca, Manta, and Quito.
Of these cities, Quito hosts the highest number of migrants and refugees. The majority live on daily wages earned from informal labor and had their livelihoods severely impacted by Covid-19 and the associated prevention measures. This loss or reduction of livelihoods translated into increased homelessness and health impacts.
Through their GCF project, Protection and Services for People in Situations of Human Mobility, the Metropolitan District of Quito set out to strengthen its public policy on issues of human mobility through improving access to services, creating shared community spaces to foster social cohesion, and carrying out campaigns and workshops to raise awareness and address xenophobia.
With these aims in mind, Quito established the country’s first District Plan for Human Mobility. As part of the Plan’s roll-out, the district trained city staff on better providing for the specific needs of migrant and displaced communities and ensuring a city-wide human rights-based approach to current and future arrivals. It also actively involved migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in the Plan’s formation, which led to a permanent communication channel for these communities to influence city planning.
At the same time, the city augmented the social services delivered through four community centers across the city to better provide for migrants and refugees, including women, children, persons living with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQIA community. Services include legal counseling, employment and entrepreneurship support, and temporary shelter, among others.
Through the Protection and Services for People in Situations of Human Mobility project and with implementing support from FUDELA, the Metropolitan District of Quito established Ecuador’s first District Human Mobility Plan, approved through a City Council resolution. Migrants and refugees provided input into the plan through a series of 56 workshops that brought displaced and receiving community members together to discuss the plan’s development. Throughout the process, over 200 public officials from the district were trained on how to use the plan to strengthen services and assistance to people in situations of human mobility.
To begin services included in the plan, the city provided additional social services through four community centers in the District. Through these centers, the city provided 335 migrants with legal advice to regularize their status and another 278 people mental health support. The city also provided 218 people livelihoods support through soft skills, trade, and entrepreneurship trainings.